One in three Canadian employers feel prepared for cannabis legalization: report

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78 percent of those surveyed believe their HR department should be concerned

As an employer or employee, how prepared do you think your organization is for cannabis legalization on October 17? When New York–based advisory firm Mercer posed that question in a survey of Canadian employers, only one third of 366 respondents said they were ready.

Meanwhile, in a separate poll of 1,008 Canadian workers, just 26 percent felt that their bosses were ready for the change.

“Our data shows that although employers are aware that cannabis legalization will have an impact on their workplace, these impacts haven’t been fully examined across the whole of the organization,” said Alex Boucher, principal and total health management leader for Canada with Mercer, which has offices across the country, including in Vancouver.

“The implications of legal cannabis consumption should be thought through carefully, across the entirety of an organization’s operations,” Boucher added.

Some other interesting findings from the dual Mercer reports:

  • 78 percent of employers believe their organization’s HR department should be very concerned.
  • 90 percent of employers plan to update their drug and alcohol/substance use policy.
  • Few employers are planning to update other relevant policies, such as code of conduct (38 percent) and disability accommodation (37 percent).
  • 22 percent of employee respondents say their workplace has clearly communicated medical cannabis policies.
  • 42 percent of Canadian respondents expect to see their health and drug plan provide at least some coverage of medical cannabis.

This all comes with the caveat that data for the survey was gathered in late May. Maybe views have changed since then.